Ah, parenthood. It is a beautiful struggle filled with learning new things and challenges that may seem mundane, but could very well be life or death. There is so much media to read and listen to when it comes to keeping a baby safe, and it can be daunting to even form your own opinion on how to do things. Questions like “Am I doing this right?” may arise, and anxieties may creep up out of nowhere. But know this: when you trust your gut, and remember the right things to do, you and your new baby will be alright.
But in a world of uncertainties, every action or object could mean danger for your newborn child. From kisses to simple boogers, even the smallest things can endanger your child if they are not kept at bay. But do not fret. Here, we have compiled a list of things to look out for when handling a newborn baby, because every baby is a blessing, and we should always take good care of them.
There will always be things to do, and things not to do. From letting a baby sleep on their stomach, to leaving a soiled diaper unattended, here are the 15 things you should NEVER do with a newborn. Read on, and make sure to stay safe!
15. Allow everyone to kiss baby
It’s absolutely fulfilling as a parent to see many people doting on your newborn. And how could they not? Considering how cute and lovable all babies are, people should be fawning all over them. Life as a parent may be hard, but seeing how beautiful your baby is to others makes it all worthwhile. But as happy as everybody may seem around the baby, letting people hold and kiss your child may be dangerous.
Even if some people appear completely healthy, they may be carrying a strain of herpes that is not visible. This is the Herpes Simplex Virus, or more commonly known as HSV-I. This type of herpes is invisible and does not usually show any outward signs of the disease, and it can easily infect your baby. This is fatal for children under three months, so mind who kisses your newborn!
14. Have baby sleep on his tummy
When it comes to a baby’s sleeping habits, we have to be careful. By now, every person and their mother probably knows that letting a baby sleep on their tummy may not be the best idea. It could even be fatal. This is because babies who are made to sleep on their stomachs are at higher risk of dying because of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The science behind this is that babies who sleep like this end up inhaling and rebreathing their own carbon dioxide. This is fatal because this cuts off their oxygen supply, which could lead to suffocation and death. For the baby’s safety, let them sleep on their back. And keep a close eye on them as they sleep, there’s no shame in checking on them!
13. Put on too much clothing
Bundling up your baby may seem like the right decision, especially during the colder months. After all, it is your job as a parent to keep your child safe and warm. But there is a really good reason not to over-bundle babies. There’s even a simple rule to follow: dress your baby like you would dress yourself!
Bundling up too much can lead to overheating your baby’s body. This can lead to a higher temperature that could make them feel uncomfortable. It could also lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome due to lack of space for movement, which is harmful, and even fatal, for the baby. So if I were you, I would think twice about putting on that extra sweater or jacket!
12. Leave a soggy diaper on for a long time
Leaving on a soggy diaper and waiting until the baby actually poops them-self may seem economical and time-saving. It may feel like a waste switching diapers after just a short period of time, so some parents allow the diaper to go for a few more minutes until it’s completely soaked. But this practice may bring more harm to the baby than good.
Soggy diapers, when left on for long enough, can give a baby diaper rash and make them uncomfortable and restless, which could lead to a long night of no sleep. What’s more, it could also lead to a staph infection. A staph infection comes from a strain of bacteria that lives in fecal matter, which is highly dangerous to young children. Not to mention unpleasant!
11. Forget a doctors appointment
Missing an appointment with the doctor may seem like a simple thing. Besides, we’ve all got busy lives, and surely one missed appointment can’t be that bad, right? Unfortunately, wrong. Missing a doctor’s appointment can mean missing out on monitoring your baby’s developmental stages and physical exams.
It may also be difficult to follow up with pediatrician appointments once you’ve missed one. Following up requires having an initial checkup, so missing even one appointment is critical. You might also miss out on important shots and immunizations for the baby. Immunizations are critical for keeping them safe from diseases and viruses like the flu. Keep a schedule of your baby’s doctor’s appointments and stick to each and every one! You never know what the doctor might say, so always make it a point to show up.
10. Offer a pacifier
Giving the baby a pacifier may seem like a no-brainer when trying and calm them down. But is it really right for them at the earlier stages of their newborn life? Studies show that babies who are given pacifiers earlier in life are at risk of not knowing how to identify a nipple from a pacifier. This can create trouble latching when it comes time to breastfeed.
There is also a heightened risk for ear infections, due to the air pressure that forms around the head when frequent sucking occurs. And lastly, offering a pacifier can also affect the baby’s tooth development. Sucking can cause the baby teeth to grow in an underbite or crooked pattern. It might be best to try singing your baby to sleep instead of offering them a binky!
9. Use bumpers for the crib
Some cribs and crib bedding sets may be sold with things called bumpers. Bumpers are firm, cushiony linings that are meant to keep your child safe by preventing them from bumping into the hard sides of the crib, or even slipping through the slats. It sounds like a safety precaution with great intentions, right? Well, this might help you rethink putting up bumpers in your baby’s crib.
Bumpers, whether they’re of the cushion or mesh variety, can actually do more harm than good for your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend using them due to cases of babies getting trapped in them. They also pose a risk of suffocation and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. These bumpers can also cut off the flow of fresh air into the baby’s crib, which is something no one wants.
8. Put a stuffed animal beside them
Letting your baby sleep with a stuffed animal is not advisable. In fact, it could be highly dangerous due to a few risk factors. Stuffed animals and toys by a baby’s head can cause eventual suffocation and even be fatal. It may be very unlikely, but your baby could roll over and cause a stuffed toy to come into their line of breathing.
This could lead to a disruption in their oxygen supply. Strangulation is also a possibility, especially with stuffed toys that have flimsy clothes or detachable parts like buttons or clips. Keep the toys away until the baby turns a year old. One year is a good rule of thumb because that’s when they can move things away from their faces as a safety reflex.
7. Allow them to sleep in a baby swing
Baby swings are big fun. What’s more is that they’re convenient, and they help you take a break from carrying the baby once in awhile. But letting your child sleep in one? That’s a big no-no. Scientific journals show that when babies that are four months old or younger sleep in a slightly upright position, their oxygen intake may be cut down, causing eventual suffocation.
Letting your baby sleep in a car seat also poses the same risk of lessened oxygen intake. This could even lead to suffocation and SIDS if left unchecked. Try keeping a closer eye on the baby as they sleep, and make sure to transfer them carefully to the crib once they are deep in dreamland already. Don’t allow them to sleep where they’re not supposed to, because it could be harmful to them.
6. Leave clutter on the floor
Leaving clutter on the floor can lead to serious accidents, especially when it is dark. As a parent, stumbling towards a crib in the dark may be something new to get used to. Lessen the risk of injury by cleaning up toys and clutter on the floor, and get a better footing on your way to see your baby. Your risk of tripping already increases enough when sleep deprived without obstacles on the floor.
Some unfortunate parents have suffered the horrible accident of falling over while they were holding their child. The reason? Having toys on the floor instead of in the toybox. Every time baby plays, make sure to put away any toys that still might be in the way. Even plush toys can pose a risk, so it’s best to stay safe and clean them up!
5. Using a changing table without straps
Baby changing stations are required to have safety straps to keep the baby in place while you’re changing their diaper. A changing table without straps is defective, and therefore not safe for a parent to really use. What’s the risk? Your child could fall or roll off the table while they are being changed, and that could lead to some serious damage.
In the event that you end up having to use a baby changing station with no straps, do not take the risk. Look for another station with straps and do not settle for one without, no matter how tired or tempted you are. Your baby’s life could be on the line. It’s not something you would want to risk.
4. Ignore them when they’re crying
Allowing the baby to cry it out can be a risk to their brain development, according to scientists. Letting your child keep crying without pause or attention will heighten their stress levels, and keep them cranky for longer. This rise in stress hinders positive brain development. As they grow, they could get used to less attention and feel neglected, which is the last thing we want our children to feel.
Prolonged crying can also lessen their independence growing up. Studies show that children who are attended to as soon as they cry exhibit greater independence later in life than those who are left to fend for themselves. You can also tell what a baby needs once they are attended to — for all you know, your baby could be hungry or tired. Or maybe they’re just lonely!
3. Allow baby to be near water unattended
This one is a no-brainer. A good parent must never let their child be near water unattended, be it a sink or a pool. The obvious risks are drowning and suffocation, and maybe even death if the child is not noticed fast enough. A baby does have its own survival instincts, but instincts cannot fully save their life when they are in danger due to their lack of mobility. Don’t risk it!
When giving the baby a bath, make sure that the water is still and not running. Also be sure that it is warm enough not to shock them with cold. Always keep a close eye and never leave until you are sure the child is in a safe place away from water. If leaving can’t be helped, make sure someone else watches over them when you do have to leave to get something.
2. Clean his nose with your finger
Cleaning a baby’s nose with your finger can expose their system to bad bacteria and viruses. Sure, it may be a pet peeve to see dried mucus all over your baby’s nose, and picking them out may seem like the only way, but do your best to stop yourself from doing so! Nose picking can do so much worse for your child. Not to mention it’s kind of gross!
You might end up clogging the child’s nose much more with your finger, and pushing the boogers up farther than where they used to be. For this situation, it is best to use saline drops to melt stubborn boogers in the baby’s nose. Don’t worry if your child sneezes it out! Once they have melted, use a nasal aspirator to suck the mucus gently out. Problem solved!
1. Ignore your intuition
Becoming a parent means learning something new everyday and doing your best to keep your child safe and happy. But with so many different sources of information and opinions to listen to, it can be hard to discern which advice to follow. When this happens, never forget to listen to your own intuition, and follow your gut feeling. Or ask your trusted health professional!
As a social species, we humans have an innate gut feeling that helps us navigate through the trials and tribulations of life, even in parenthood. When something feels a bit off, or when your gut tells you something, it’s usually wiser to listen than to ignore it. It’s our special sixth sense that gets heightened once we start raising a brood of our own. Listen to what your gut tells you, and never ignore your intuition, for it could save your baby’s life one day!